Texas Dog Breeds (Heeler and Lacy Compared)

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In terms of pet ownership, Texas ranks 28th in the United States. However, they rank first in the country because of all their farms and ranches, meaning they most likely have preferred herding and working dogs to help them. So, which dog breeds are preferred in Texas?

The Blue Lacy dog breed is the only pure breed to have originated in Texas. The Texas Heeler is a popular working dog in Texas, even though it was not crossbred in the State. Other popular dog breeds in Texas include French Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Yorkshire Terriers.

Dog Breeds - Texas View

Dog Breeds From Texas

The only pure breed of dog to originate from Texas is the Lacy breed. However, a non-standard dog breed from Texas is the Texas Heeler. Both are medium-sized, high-energy working dogs bred for herding various animals on ranches.

  • The two dog breeds appeared in Texas centuries apart.
  • Both breeds can have blue coloration.
  • The Lacy dog breed was crossbred in Texas.
  • It is unknown where and when Texas Heelers were crossbred.

While many other types of dog breeds are found in Texas, these two breeds hold special meaning to the State. The Blue Lacy is the State dog breed of Texas, while the Texas Heeler has grown in popularity since the breed was featured in a popular game in 2018.

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Blue Lacy Dog Breed

The Lacy dog breed is more commonly known as the Blue Lacy, although they can be red or tri-colored, too. Their name derives from the Lacy brothers, who created the breed in the mid-1800s.

Blue Lacy Dog Breed - Texas View

The Lacy brothers needed herding dogs on their ranch. It is believed they crossbred Greyhounds, scent hounds, and coyotes to achieve the perfect dogs for their needs. The Blue Lacy breed is recognized by the National Kennel Club (NKC), and the Texas Senate made it the State dog of Texas on 18 June 2005.

The Blue Lacy dog breed isn’t very well known outside of Texas. Their numbers are low as they are mainly used within Texas on ranches for herding cattle. However, breeding programs ensure that the Lacy breed doesn’t die out.

Blue Lacy Cow Dogs Working Texas Longhorn Cattle

Texas Heeler Dog Breed

Despite its name, the Texas Heeler dog breed is a mix of two types of herding dogs, namely Australian Cattle dogs, and Australian Shepherds. Texas Heelers were first registered as a breed in the 1970s and are sometimes called Blue Heelers or Queensland Heelers.

Texas Heeler Dog - Texas View

Texas Heelers aren’t a standard breed, but that may change in the future. To be classified as a Texas Heeler, Australian Cattle dog genes must be present. The sheepdog genes can be from an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie.

Texas Heelers became more popular after the 2018 release of the Ubisoft first-person shooting game, Far Cry 5. The featured dog, Boomer, was created as a mix of a Blue Heeler and an Australian Shepherd. Since then, the dog breed has increased in popularity.

Texas Heeler - Top 10 Facts

Texas Dog Breeds Comparison

The Blue Lacy and Texas Heeler dog breeds have a special place in the history of the State. They share many other similarities: they are intelligent, agile, and hard-working herding dogs devoted to their owners. Below is a table comparing a few of the characteristics of these two breeds.

 The Blue Lacy Dog BreedThe Texas Heeler Dog Breed
Height18 to 25 inches17 to 22 inches
Weight25 to 50 pounds25 to 50 pounds
Type of CoatSleek, short, and smooth coatShort to medium-length double coat, smooth and soft.
Coat ColorationGray, red, or cream. Sometimes white may be evident on the paws or chest.Blue, blue ticked, blue merle, red, or black. White or tan trim can sometimes occur on the legs or feet.
Eye ColorationYellow to orangeBrown, sometimes blue.
TemperamentEasy-going, intelligent, and gentle-spirited.Loyal, playful, intelligent, and fearless.
Good with childrenYesMedium
Energy LevelsEnergetic and eager to workEnergetic
TrainabilityVery easy to trainHigh trainability but can be destructive if not trained.
Herding skillsThis breed has a natural herding ability and will herd anything from chickens or hogs to large cattle. They are also good at droving.Strong herding instincts. May herd small children and nip them to keep them in line if there is nothing else to herd.
Other skillsLacys are good as hunting companions, search and rescue, tracking, agility, and running companions.Home protection.
Life Span12 to 16 years12 to 15 years
Comparison of Texas Dog Breeds

Texas Dog Breeds As Service Dogs

Service dogs are trained individually and specifically to perform tasks or work for people with disabilities or in specialized units. Examples of the services these dogs could perform are acting as guides for the visually impaired or alerting hard-of-hearing people to the presence of people or a ringing doorbell. Alternatively, they can work in search and rescue or for K-9 protection units.

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The qualities of a service dog include high intelligence, high trainability, and a willingness to please its owner or trainer. Blue Lacy dogs and Texas Heelers have the qualities needed to make good service dogs. Still, they would excel in different areas of service.

The Texas Heeler is better suited as a service dog that works with people with disabilities. It is friendly, protective, and eager to please. Their loving dispositions lend them to being good Emotional Support Animals (EMAs).

Blue Lacy dogs are better suited to working in a K-9 sniffing unit or as Search and Rescue (SAR) service dogs. Since these dogs have scent hound blood in their genetic makeup, they are good at tracking.

Not everyone in Texas has a Blue Lacy or a Texas Heeler. Only 58.2% of households in Texas have pets, of which only 47% have one or more dogs. Out of all the dog breeds in the world, the following five dog breeds are the most popular in Texas, with Blue Lacy being the most popular:

  • Blue Lacy
  • Labrador Retriever
  • French Bulldog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Yorkshire Terrier

All but the French Bulldog breed are working dogs, but they all make great family pets. The most loved dogs in the United States are Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Yorkshire Terriers are more popular as family pets, especially in cities. These little dogs make great ratters and hunt for vermin in small, inaccessible places.

Texas Dogs FAQs

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is A Blue Lacy?

A Blue Lacy is a medium-sized dog with a coat that has a blue undertone. A real Blue Lacy will have yellow to orange eyes, not brown eyes. Its coat is sleek and smooth.

Can You Keep A Texas Heeler In An Apartment?

Texas Heelers are not suited to apartment living because of their high energy levels. However, they would do well with a small to medium garden as their double coats allow them to cope with most weather conditions.

Are Blue Lacy Dogs Aggressive?

Blue Lacy dogs are not inherently aggressive, but they can play exuberantly. They are friendly and protective family dogs that are good with children.

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Are Texas Heelers Rare?

Texas Heelers are not considered rare, although you are unlikely to find them at many pet stores. To acquire a Texas Heeler, you should go through a breeder or adopt one through a Texas Heeler rescue organization.


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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